Two prominent Vermont conservation organizations recently teamed up with Green Mountain Power to go solar, lowering their energy bills and greening their electric energy footprint. The collaboration will allow these organizations to power their offices with clean, local, renewable energy. The Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Vermont Land Trust, located in historic buildings across the street from each other in Montpelier, will now be generating the electricity they use from a set of solar trackers recently installed on Green Mountain Power property about a quarter of a mile from their offices.
“Getting our electric energy from renewable sources makes sense because it’s both good for the planet and good for our balance sheet,” said Brian Shupe, VNRC’s executive director. He noted that the city of Montpelier has made a commitment, through the NetZero Montpelier project, to have all the city’s energy use either produced or offset by renewable energy sources, and that project will help meet that goal.
“The Vermont Land Trust is a land conservation organization but we are also interested in conserving energy,” said Elise Annes, Vice President for Community Relations. “Minimizing our total energy use and embracing the use of renewable energy in many cases makes environmental and economic sense. In our work, we support Vermonters who are working hard to strike a balance between protecting important working and community lands and considering which areas for make sense for alternative energy development.”
Under the agreement, the organizations buy the power from a private developer, David Boucher of Essex, who purchased and installed the solar panels with All Earth Renewables of Williston. The organizations pay a fixed fee every month for the electricity and each expects to save approximately 5 percent on its monthly electricity costs. The community solar project also adds more renewable power to the grid, helping to green the overall energy supply in the region.
Neither of the organizations’ buildings are well suited for on-site solar, so Green Mountain Power stepped up and made a part of their property off Memorial Drive available as part of their commitment to both organizations’ mission, as well as the city’s “Net Zero Montpelier” effort.
“We are excited to be part of this solar project and the Montpelier Net Zero initiative to develop innovative solutions to help move to cleaner, affordable local sources of energy,” said GMP spokesperson Kristin Carlson.
Added Shupe: “Many people don’t realize that even if your home or business is not well suited for solar, options may be available.” He noted that Information on options is available at www.vecan.net.